NIU Foundation presents awards to four individuals


Four individuals recently were honored by the Northern Illinois University Foundation with the presentation of its prestigious Humanitarian and President’s Awards for Service.

The four recipients, Dick Boardman, Richard Brown, John Castle and Bob Wildenradt, were presented with plaques by NIU Foundation President Stephen Horvath and NIU President John La Tourette Sept. 29.

Horvath said the presentation of these awards started back in the 1970s and have been given every year since. The criteria for these awards is set up by a special awards committee within the foundation.

The first recipient, Dick Boardman, received both a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s degree in business administration from NIU, La Tourette said. Boardman also was an elementary student in NIU’s “lab school” in McMurray Hall.

Boardman was a winner of the President’s Award for Service. He received this award for his work as the executive vice president and general manager of the Village Commons Bookstore, La Tourette said. He also was the past president of The Alumni Association, the NIU Nonacademic Employees Council and the National Association of College Stores.

In addition to all of this, Boardman also has served on the boards of the NIU Foundation, the First American Bank and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

“This was really a big thrill for me,” Boardman said. “I have been around NIU all my life and winning this award is a big honor.”

The Foundation’s Humanitarian Award for Service was presented to Richard Brown. Brown came to NIU in 1971 after earning a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Illinois-Urbana.

For a long time, Brown was the dean of NIU’s College of Business. He currently is the business dean at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside.

La Tourette said, “He progressed through the educational hierarchy from assistant professor to the deanship. He served as dean for nine years and led the College of Business to a new level of excellence.

“During his tenure, he developed a strategic plan for the College of Business, solidified seven named professorships and secured annual funding of over $400,000,” he said.

Another President’s Award for Service went to John Castle, executive officer of Castle BancGroup, the parent company for three Northern Illinois banks and the Northern Illinois Finance Company.

Castle earned degrees from Princeton and the University of Chicago Law School. He also joined the cabinet of former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson in 1977 and was the first director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.

Castle received this award for his extensive involvement in the community. He is chair of the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Board and treasurer of the NIU Foundation. He also is a board member for the Ben Gordan Mental Health Center, the NIU President’s Advisory Council and the DeKalb County Housing Authority Foundation.

The last Humanitarian Award for Service was presented to Bob Wildenradt, the former owner of McCabe Realtors. “He is a man who has given freely of his time, talents and resources to further strengthen the community,” Horvath said.

Wildenradt is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in industrial administration. He has been the past director of Sycamore Municipal Hospital, Kishwaukee Hospital, the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce and the Sycamore United Fund.

Wildenradt currently is the president of the Kishwaukee College Foundation and a director of the DeKalb County Community Foundation and the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.